Student leaders believe the country still needs improvement in supporting career progression and wage inequality, according to one survey
In a survey conducted by the Association of Public Affairs at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, more than 200 student leaders across higher education institutions in Singapore agreed that the country still needs improvement in dealing with workplace issues.
More than 50% of respondents believed that Singapore had done ‘poorly’ in terms of “respecting and supporting all career paths equally” while another 48% said the same of “having low income inequality and good work-life balance”.
Meanwhile, another 67% believed that the country is adequately giving support – but still needs improvement – in providing equal opportunities in the workforce to upgrade and keep pace with technological advances, according to the report by TODAYOnline.
“Youths are passionate in wanting to make a difference, from small projects to even policymaking,” said Charles Phua Chao Rong, president of the Association of Public Affairs.
“However, they are unsure how to do so in a safe-to-learn and safe-to-contribute environment. So I think this informal partnership, like what (the Association for Public Affairs) is doing with some support from government agencies, is a useful first step for youths.”
The survey was conducted as part of the association’s SG100 Compass (Youth Edition) project that aims to see how far citizens believe the country has gotten in its 50th year of independence.
“A separate report with policy recommendations, following the survey findings, was submitted to members of the Cabinet last week,” said the report.
Reality vs expectation
Perhaps part of the perceived lack of support in career progression is fueled by a mismatch in the skills students think they need to get ahead in the workplace versus the skills that HR managers are looking for.
In a separate research recently conducted by CEMS, the global alliance in management education, 53% of more than 400 students surveyed globally believed that they needed to improve on their technical expertise in order to progress further in their careers, yet only 36% of HR managers surveyed said the same.
According to HR professionals, they put more emphasis on young employees working outside of their comfort zone (61%), gaining broad experience (59%), and networking (56%).
“Our research suggests that young people starting out in the workplace may not be focusing on the right things for career growth and that the skills they think will build successful careers do not always match the views of global employers,” said Roland Siegers, executive director of CEMS.
“Young people just setting out on their careers will come up against major political, digital, economic and environmental challenges that their predecessors did not face.”
“To ensure that they can thrive and progress in this uncertain landscape and work successfully with colleagues across the globe, they must develop broad skills, flexibility and cultural intelligence, particularly through international experiences which challenge them and broaden their horizons.”